Monday, February 21, 2011

2010 Winter Crop Single Bush Yu Lan Dan Cong

Once again, I took a little pause from Japanese teas – mainly because of weather, which (after a week of high temperatures and sun when we all thought spring is finally here) changed back to being cloudy, windy and chilly – well, no spring yet, obviously.

Another reason is an annoying case of cold I'd been suffering from for the last week or so – being ill, I'm not able to enjoy teas as much as usually, especially Japanese greens.

I've got this sample few weeks ago when I visited the Probuzeny Slon teahouse in Brno. It comes from Czech shop LongFeng, which has already been mentioned on my blog a couple of times as the best option in Czech republic when shopping for authentic Chinese and Taiwanese teas.

This tea was completely hand-picked, hand-processed and hand-roasted at the beginning of this winter in Wu Dong Shan from one single tree of Yu Lan (Jade Orchid) variety Feng Huang Shui Xien cultivar in altitude of about 600 meters. Whole production of this tea is just three kilograms a year.

As seen on the leaves, the roasting is very light and was, according to vendor's website, accomplished on wood coal. If I would have to describe these leaves by one word, it would be probably – beautiful. Very long, even and diverse in color, ranging from light yellow and green to purple and brown. Their smell is also a very complex one, with predominant tones of flowers and sweet fruitiness; this smell is fresh and deep at the same time, strong, noble and harmonic. As these leaves are placed into the preheated gaiwan, their aroma gets even stronger, sweeter and literally fills the whole room.

Jade Orchid and an Orchid

The first infusion is brewed only for a few seconds, resulting in a very light, yellow infusion, smell of which is just as vivid as that of the dry leaves. Its taste is unusually pure, noble and rich with complex tones of fruit, especially bananas and mango, flowers and honey sweetness, which is also the main tone of very long, intensive and cool aftertaste.

The second infusion is prepared with the same short brewing time and is just as light in color, though this time, the brew seems to have a bit of green color in it. The taste is slightly vivider, though still just as pure and harmonic as that of the previous infusion. Flowers seem to be the main tone in this brew, followed by sweet fruit, freshness and leaving very similar aftertaste, now less cooling and more mouthfilling, complex and sweet.

Finally, change in color can be seen on the third infusion, being deeper yellow while maintaining the purity of previous brews. Its taste is very similar to the second infusion; sweet, fruity, flowery and smooth, with long, noble aftertaste, resembling tropical fruit and flowers.

The fourth and fifth infusions are very much alike, or, better said, equally good – tones of previous brews are now enriched by slightly spiciness, present in infusion as well as the aftertaste and even contributing to the highly aromatic impression of this tea.

The sixth, seventh and eight infusions are almost buttery smooth, still very pure and aromatic, gradually lighter and less sweet. Apart from now quite vivid spicy note, another new nuance shows up – mild tone of citrus fruit, namely limes. The aftertaste also seems to be a bit lighter and shorter with slight dryness and warmth.

Two more infusions are prepared before this session's end, quite uniform and humble, though still surprisingly enjoyable.

After the last brew, the used leaves still carry their former sweet, vivid aroma, which seems to be almost never ending.

Thanks again for an opportunity to try this tea.


  1. Very nice description and illustrations.

    So I'm going to brew a Dan Cong an Orchid; in Bordeaux is also cold and humid.

    Best Regards.

    . PHILIPPE .

  2. Philippe,
    thanks! Enjoy your cup of Dan Cong as well and have a nice day!

  3. I am glad that you are back with your posts :)

    For me DanCongs are like whole another world. I mean you can whole life explore Japanese, another Wui oolongs, two lives for Puer...then DanCong. But I am tempted go this way, I have only little experiences with DanCong teas but every single was interesting. And I think that DanCongs from Long Feng are really great.


  4. Petr,
    thanks, I'm glad to be back as well :-)

    Very nicely said - just as the whole world of tea is boundless, so are its smaller parts - Japanese teas, Yanchas, Puerhs, Dan Congs and so on. It's definitely true that the more we learn about tea, the more we realize how little we actually know about it.
    I have only a little experience with Dan Cong teas as well, but agree with you that they are definitely an interesting whole different world of teas - especially those from LongFeng.

  5. Where can I find a cool tea table like yours?

  6. k,
    this table is a work of Czech potter Miroslava Randova, you can find more about her work on her and Petr Novak's website: